Thursday, March 18, 2010

21st March Margaret Mahy (1936) Michael Foreman (1938) David Wisniewski (1953 - 2002) World Poetry Day

Too much on today to do any of them justice, and each of them is very important in the world of children's literature and needs their own entry!

Firstly, Margaret Mahy. She is probably New Zealand's best-known children's author and she deserves to be. She won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006, she has a sculpture in her honour in Christchurch and she has won numerous writing awards such as the Carnegie medal. She writes fantastic novels and short stories , but the children I teach know her because of her picture books, especially The Great White Man-eating Shark and The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate. Have you read The Great Piratical Rumbustification? The story is great fun and the children love saying 'rumbustification'.

Secondly, Michael Foreman who is one of Britain's best-known author/illustrators. His first book was published over fifty years ago. The General has just been republished so that it can be enjoyed again. A lot of Foreman's books after this one continue to have war and conflict as themes. Last year he published A Child's Garden: A Story of Hope which also continued this theme, but that is not to say his books are depressing or unneccessarily negative. Three of his more popular books in my library, One World (1990), Seal Surfer (1996) and Wonder Goal (2002) have very positive messages.

Foreman has won the Greenaway medal twice, in 1982 and 1989. He has collaborated with Michael Morpurgo on many books (see Dolphin Boy), likes to do biographical-type stories and often sets his books in Cornwall. His illustrations are usually luminous, very blue, with vast skies and watercolour washes. Their lightness and colour are not something I immediately associate with the weather in Britain. He needs to paint in Australia!

And thirdly, an American author/illustrator who was born in England, David Wisniewski who did amazing illustrations with layers of cut paper. His book Golem won the Caldecott medal in 1997, but my favourite of his is Rain Player where Mayan boy Pik meets the rain God and is challenged to a ball game.

World Poetry Day can wait till tomorrow. We are celebrating it at school tomorrow so I should have some photos!

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